The trial of a Belle Glade man has begun after prosecutors say the man killed the mother of his children, Dav’niesha Bryant, after petitioned the court for a restraining order. The 24-year-old Bryant was murdered before the restraining order could be served.
According to police, Bryant did everything right. She called the sheriff’s office and got a restraining order. But it wasn’t enough to save her life as is so often the case for women who expect the criminal justice system to protect them from unhinged boyfriends.
According to the prosecution, Dacoby Wooten sent several threatening texts to his former girlfriend spurring Bryant to call the sheriff’s office. These included texts indicating how good it would feel when he was standing over her with a gun and she was begging for her life. Prosecutors said that’s exactly how the murder played out.
Meanwhile, Wooten has admitted outright that he is guilty of killing Bryant, but his defense insists this is a crime of passion. Below, we’ll take a look at how successful that defense will be.
Affirmative Defenses and Manslaughter
Essentially, Wooten says that he is guilty of manslaughter, not first-degree murder which is what he’s being charged with. The jury will be asked to determine whether or not Wooten’s crime was a “crime of passion” or a premeditated murder. The two, in legal terms, are mutually exclusive.
The success of this type of plea depends heavily on the circumstances surrounding the event. One popular form of this plea is now illegal in many states. It’s known as the gay or trans panic defense. As an example, let’s say you take someone home with you only to find out that they have the sexual organs of a man. You flip out and kill them. You can claim that this was a “crime of passion” or “panic” and that you weren’t thinking properly when the attack occurred.
On the other hand, what’s missing from that scenario? It doesn’t include a note indicating precisely how the attack would occur prior to it occurring. In most cases, a jury has to sympathize with your plight when they agree to convict you of a lesser crime. That won’t be the case in this trial. The jury is unlikely to sympathize with a man who expressed pleasure at the thought of murdering the mother of his children, leaving those children without a mother, and ensuring that they wouldn’t grow up with any parents at all.
Secondly, the plea seems to fly in the face of the actual evidence that the prosecution will present at trial. Bryant was not only terrified enough to get a restraining order against Wooten, but he had given her good cause to feel afraid by sending her a threatening text message.
It does not seem likely that Wooten’s defense will be successful.
Talk to a West Palm Beach Criminal Defense Attorney
If you’re charged with a serious crime, the West Palm Beach criminal attorneys at The Skier Law Firm can defend you from the charges. Talk to us today for more information.